Courthouse renovations will return dome to original copper

May 9, 2019

IRONTON — The copper dome of the 111-year-old Lawrence County Courthouse in Ironton, which has turned to a mint green over the years, will be restored to its original copper color in the next month or two, according to Bill Lippert, a Cincinnati architect working on the project.

The cleaning of the courthouse dome is among a number of projects as part of the $6.8 million renovation of the courthouse, according to Lippert.

“We’ll be turning it back to its original copper color,” Lippert said Monday. “We’ll be cleaning it with a combination of water and baking soda.”

Work on the dome started several weeks ago, but was held up due to a problem with a crane. As part of the

project, the 4th Street door of the courthouse has been closed to the public. The restoration work is expected to take six to eight weeks, Lippert said.

After the copper dome is cleaned, a clear finish will be placed on the dome to keep the copper showing, he said. The copper coating has turned a greenish color over the years due to the weather.

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners last year approved a renovation project that includes a new roof and gutters, improved lighting, a new elevator, refurbishing the copper courthouse dome, an upgrade to the heating and cooling system and repairing stonework and masonry on the courthouse building.

Perfection Engineering of Cincinnati won the contract to do the work last year.

Meanwhile, the main elevator, used by the public, has been shut down for more than a month, said County Auditor Jason Stephens. The elevator could be back in service by the end of the week, he said.

“A lot of people rely on that elevator,” he said. While the main elevator has been shut down, a smaller elevator has stayed in service, he said.

The renovation work is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, weather permitting, Lippert said.

The project also includes upgrading a building in Coal Grove to house 911 and Emergency Medical Services employees and set aside more than $1 million for a new jail.

The county agreed to borrow $4 million and use $2.78 million in one-time money received from the state to make the upgrades. No local tax money is being used for the project, officials said.